University wins this round with No. 1 Dana Hills
IRVINE - The best rivalries in sports have not only decided championships regularly and altered legacies altogether, they have also withstood the test of time and manufactured unforgettable moment after unforgettable moment.
From the looks of it, the Dana Hills-University rivalry is on the right path.
A season removed from falling to the Dolphins in the CIF-SS Division 1 championship match, the second-ranked Trojans (10-1) exacted revenge with a 10-8 victory over No. 1 Dana Hills on Wednesday in a nonleague match at University High.
“Today’s win was a team effort,” Trojans coach John Kessler said. “We got contributions from everyone; our singles, our doubles, everyone contributed. It was a total team effort, and that’s what we needed to beat a strong team like Dana.”
Playing down at No. 3 singles, sophomore Yuki Asami swept all three of her sets - including a match-closing 7-6 tiebreaker against Jessica Perez - as part of the hosts’ 6-3 edge in singles.
“Yuki is the absolute perfect team player,” Kessler said. “In 26 years of coaching, I haven’t coached anyone like her. She’s an elite player, she’s positive and she’s played everywhere we’ve asked her to. I cannot say enough about her. She’s just a class act.”
University’s No. 3 doubles team of Danielle Pham and Kyla Scott claimed two of three sets, including a third-round, 6-4 victory over Alyssa Smith and AJ Gomer.
“Like Yuki, we wanted to put Danielle and Kyla down at No. 3 to get some momentum and put pressure on Dana early,” Kessler said. “That way they (Pham and Scott) would be able to get rolling for their final two sets.”
In the first round, University’s Shayna Becker won a marathon 7-6 tiebreaker to pull the hosts even at 3-3. The match remained square through the second before the Trojans took four of six sets in the final round to edge the Dolphins (11-2).
“That was everything; Oh, it was huge,” Kessler said of Becker’s first-round win. “She wins that and we tie, 3-3, instead of being down 4-2. So instead of having to win four in the second to have a chance, we could stay even with them (Dana Hills) and make a move at the end.”
For Dana Hills, Cassidy Spearman and Margo Pletcher swept their three doubles sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.